Zion National Park - Where Angel's Fear to Tread
I was questioning whether I should have been allow to be a parent as I watched my son and daughter make their way up the 75 degree angle of loose sandstone with only 1 foot separating them from a sheer 1,000 foot drop. It was a portion of the climb where there were no chains to help you if you misplaced your foot.
The sandstone cracked under the pressure of my hand and the weather-made foot holds were smooth and curved with no real rest available. At this point, everyone was on their own. I at times would reach to hold my sons backpack whenever he was within reach, but this was probably more dangerous for he and I both.
The next day I read about the multiple deaths of those who slipped off Angel's Landing and I was convinced I was not so bright.
Just months before a lady slipped and fell the full thousand feet to her death and her family had to make the long trek down without her. It was not the first time, and it will not be the last.
But then, I'd been in this situation before. The first time I watched my daughter rappel Aussie style, the time I took them up Half Dome and the day before on the sheer ledges of Hidden Canyon of Zion National Park.
I've taken the kids on these adventures so they would learn to take calculated risks in life, also because they would have the opportunity to see much more of God's creation that most never do, and because I learned the more you expose them too, the less afraid they are of life's difficult moments.
At this point however, I'm not sure how well I calculated things, but it was too late now. I was pleased to learn later that I was the only one that was over thinking things on the mountain.
Zion was appropriately named by the Mormons. I am sure it is far from what we can expect, but it is majestic. The crash of color against the blue sky and the green valley with every shade of white and red in-between is more than the optical nerve can fully discern.
You are peered down upon by the three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Above the patriarchs is the Great White Throne and I envisioned Christ sitting upon it in all his Glory while the hills called out, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God All Mighty who was, and is, and is to come".
The blood flows from the Sacred Alter and leads each one of us the he cross and the finished work of Christ as we think about the many animal sacrifices of the Old Testament and their falling short of the complete sacrifice of Jesus.
The Sun Dial touches the sky, and The Narrows beacon you to leave the world behind and make the wet five mike trek to paradise.
We spent time on the trail to Hidden Canyon along the thin paths above the canyon floor, and as we reached our destination we left our comfort of known trails for the interior of Zion. Unforgettable.
Across the canyon was Moroni, a character from the Book of Mormon and my heart broke for the thousands who put their faith in a God that was once as feeble as them, and a Jesus who was just a man, and not our triune God. I thought of their great failed doctrine, "As man is, god was, as god is, man can be". Yet the first great sin in our scripture was coveting his power, "Eat of it, and you shall be like God's".
Weeping Rock cried it's ancient tears upon us. To me they were tears for the long lost Pueblo tribes who had long enjoyed life in Siniwava's Temple, but now were no more. I could hear the chants of the ancients in my mind.
The silence of the canyon was bliss compared to the ringing slot machines and swirling smoke of Vegas just days before. I had spent four days there at a claims convention that was very helpful, but Vegas is no God made creation.
Leaving this morning we took in one last view of The West Temple and said adieu to Zion for now. Upon our return we hope to take the ten mile trek of The Narrows that is spent 97% of the way hiking in the Virgin River. Can't wait!
The day we descended off of Half Dome in Yosemite I googled up the deaths on Half Dome. There had been two just that year. I felt horrible when I thought about my son dangling on the cables thousands of feet from the bottom or the thought of Sarah as we descended the Quarter Dome portion with no support and the slightest unbalanced step would send one falling.
Life however is built on risk. The question always returning to, "What is worth dying for?"
As my family and I live life together, I hope I am somehow successful at delivering this message across the lines of the physical into the spiritual. There are many risks worth taking, and a risk for the Gospel is well worth the costs, as is a view of Yosemite or Zion, the Grand Canyon, Garmisch, and other views created by our great God.
Your kids are yours but for a while. Expose them to all the things in this world, the good, the bad and the ugly, and assist them in discerning each of them. Take calculated risks, and leave the rest in God's good and abel hands.
May you and your family at some time take steps where angel's fear to tread.